My uni friends and I were meaning to have a Spanish excursion for some time (since we, as Spanish beginner students are in a craze about Latinos and their fancy r's). After scheduling and re-scheduling, we finally decided to have lunch at Encasa. Encasa, a down-to-earth Spanish restaurant with awesome value and good food. Encasa is great for intimate dinners (though it can get a bit noisy) but excellent for group outings because you get to try a variety of tapas. There were three of us - costed $80 all up (yes we pigged out this time!), but usually you should be full at $15 each.
The Chorizo a la plancha is a Spanish sausage (with many varieties), famous for its either sweet or spicy flavour. It has a nice smoky flavour as it is grilled (a la plancha translates to grilled in Spanish). The smokiness is what makes it a popular tapas choice ('cos anything smoky makes you salivate). It was 'nice', so my friend A says, though I couldn't try this, since me, being a pesco-vege. Unfortunately, this is where my post falls short.
For me, I enjoyed the Patatas Bravas the most, just as much as my carnivore friends did. These fried cubed potato things come out piping hot, drizzled with some divine aoli and some spicy red sauce which seriously make an addictive combination. How can potatoes, once known as peasant food, become so tasty! Every time I eat this, I just simply ponder about how good it is. Okay, I can rave on and on about these lovely potatoes, but I shan't spoil your first experience too much.
I really looked forward to the Pulpo a la plancha (grilled octopus), since it's grilled! I watched as the indescribably appetising plate of octopus arrived at our table - adorned with some good ol' charred bits full of that smoky flavour. The grilled legs curled up, calling for our salivating tongues (at least in my imagination!). Paired with some face-scrunching lemon, the octopus tingled in my tongue with delight. But don't get too excited! I can see you wetting the keyboard already ;). Well, flavour was great, but texture? I'd question that. Chewy and definitely on the tough side, I was met with disapointment when I started to look crude chewing with patience on the right side of my mouth (my right). This was my first time having this, so I can't confirm that it's the common case.
Pernod, prounounced pair-no, a French white wine with a very distinct flavour, sometimes it could resemble a liquorice flavour, just a little bit. Now when I say little I mean little, so for all liquorice haters (don't worry I am one too), this is something that wouldn't be of concern to you at all!
The Pernod pasta is definitely a must-try at Encasa. This is perhaps my favourite pasta, ever. Its distinct cream sauce that comes for the Pernod wine, completely surprises the palate with a sophisticated combination of King prawns and sundried tomatoes. What makes it even more lovely, is that this unique flavour lingers with you. The penne was al dente; I don't like soft mushy pasta very much. Although I love this as much as I love my water, this dish may require some open-mindedness. Hopefully after a few brave attempts, you'd be forking away. But really, if you're a true food lover, you should be digging away after your first bite.
Lastly, we ordered a Cuatro Quesos (four cheeses) gourmet pizza. Smelly but deadly. This pizza consists of blue cheese, mozzarella, goat's cheese and parmesan. The base was nice and crunchy with a good soft thickness to it (but nothing beats Criniti's base!). This is definitely a must-try for all queso lovers. The pizza here is great to order because it's easy share and they offer a wide range of toppings, even half 'n' half.
Possibly also my favourite alcoholic drink, Sangria is a Spanish fruit punch made by combining with red wine with a variety of fruits like apples and oranges. The balance of wine and fruit is definitely to my taste, with a good wine tartness lingering on your palate after a sip. I think anyone, even those who don't like the taste of alcohol, would find this surprisingly nice.
Encasa is one of my favourite restaurants but it can get pretty packed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Its best to book 2 weeks in advance for dinner. For lunch, you should be able to grab a seat if you just pop in, though it still does get packed at lunch time depending on the day.
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Monday, 19 December 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011 Huliehulie